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Feb 11, 2013 at 07:17pm IST

UP Governor summons Akhilesh over stampede, toll rises to 36

Allahabad: 5.55 pm: Taking a serious note of the stampede at Allahabad railway station, Uttar Pradesh Governor BL Joshi summoned Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to take stock of the situation. The governor, who was attending a meeting in Delhi, rushed back to Lucknow in the afternoon and summoned the Chief Minister, who had to return from Etawah where he had gone to attend a family function.

5.00 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Javed Usmani has said that the inquiry committee set up to investigate the stampede at the Allahabad railway station has been directed to submit its report within one month.

ALSO SEE Allahabad railway station stampede: death toll rises to 36, many injured

2.50 pm: To a question whether the state government accepts failure on its part, Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani says, "If the incident has happened, there has to be some reason. We have to find out who is responsible for that. We need to probe."

2.40 pm: UP DGP AC Sharma says, "A huge crowd gathered at platforms number 4 and 6. The personnel tried to control the crowd, the crowd surged from one end. We have to investigate what really happened."

2.20 pm: UP Panchayati Raj Minister Balram Yadav says that there are no lapses on part of the state government. He adds, "It's our responsibility that the bodies of dead reach their families, they get compensation." Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani gives the details of the dead: 7 men, 29 women and one baby girl. He adds that 39 others are injured, of whom 3 are serious.

1:48 pm: Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Monday resigned from the post of the incharge of the Maha Kumbh Mela over the stampede that left 37 people dead at the Allahabad Railway Station. "I take the responsibility of the fiasco," Azam Khan said.

1:26 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has directed state Panchayati Raj Minister Balram Yadav and state transport minister Durga Prasad to go to Allahabad and oversee relief operations.

11:44 am: Before leaving for Allahabad, Railway Minister PK Bansal said all arrangements were being made for pilgrims to travel to and from Allahabad railway station. "27 special trains have left from Kumbh at 10 am today. We are cancelling trains from other destinations to accommodate more trains for Kumbh," Bansal said.

He also said he was going to the spot to ascertain the situation as three more holy dips (snaans) were scheduled to happen at the Maha Kumbh. "Rs 1 lakh additional compensation have been announced by railways for the families of the dead. We are going to spot to ascertain what went wrong as 3 more snaans are yet to happen at Kumbh," Bansal said.

11:30 am: Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and the Railway Board Chairman will visit Allahabad on Monday to review the situation. The Railway Minister has asked for CCTV footage from the Allahabad station authorities.

11:10 am: The death toll in the stampede at the Allahabad railway station has gone up to 37. "Thirty-seven people are dead. We are concentrating now more on the relief work. I don't want to go into what was the cause right now. We are committed to provide relief to injured and families of the ones who have died in the tragedy," Allahabad Divisional Commissioner Devesh Chaturvedi said said.

11:00 am: The Allahabad Divisional Commissioner was heckled outside a hospital by people alleging that they were asked for Rs 1,200 for shroud to cover the dead. However, he denied the claims of the people. "No one was asked for money by the hospital authorities," Allahabad Divisional Commissioner Devesh Chaturvedi said.

10:20 am: Railway Minister PK Bansal on Monday dismissed the reports of the collapse of a foot overbridge at the Allahabad railway station and said adequate arrangements were made at the station. "The reports of foot-over bridge collapsing are not true. There were too many people on the foot-over bridge, which led to the stampede. Railway arrangements were adequate," Bansal said.

In a major tragedy on the most auspicious day of the Maha Kumbh on Sunday, at least 37 pilgrims were killed and many were injured in a stampede at the Allahabad railway station. Authorities fear the death toll could rise further and 17 bodies are still to be identified. Eyewitnesses say a police lathicharge triggered the chaos.

"The platform was meant for passengers who had reservations and for the ladies special. But there was no room for the other crowds that started pouring in. The arrangements were in place," Allahabad railway DIG Adhiram Sharma said.

Eyewitnesses said the stampede at Platform No 6 was triggered near a foot overbridge when hundreds of passengers rushed to board a train whose arrival was being announced in a public address system. Platform No 6 was later sealed by authorities. The bodies of some of the victims shrouded in white cloth were kept at the platform for several hours.

Several eyewitnesses said there was a lathicharge by the police that compounded the panic but Divisional Railway Manager Harinder Rao claimed passengers were not baton charged and that police only attempted to regulate the movement of the crowd at the platforms by asking passengers to stand in line.

Preliminary reports said the stampede broke out when the railing leading to a footbridge collapsed but Railways Minister PK Bansal discounted such a possibility saying this had not happened. Bansal said overcrowding at the platforms may have led to the stampede. A police officer said an estimated 4,000 people were present at one single point at the site where the stampede occurred.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the loss of lives in the tragedy and instructed Railway ministry to provide all possible assistance. Singh also directed central government departments to extend all possible help to Uttar Pradesh government in relief operations.

The UP government ordered an inquiry into the stampede and asked the Railways to make proper arrangements to clear rush of devotees and sanctioned an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh to the kin of each of the dead persons. "The state government has ordered an inquiry into the entire incident. The 'snan' at Kumbh was completed without any problem...the unfortunate incident took place at the railway station..Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has ordered an inquiry into the incident", SP spokesman and cabinet minister Rajendra Chowdhury said. Chairman Revenue Board has been asked by the Chief Minister to inquire into the incident and submit his report to him.

Over three crore people had converged for a holy dip on the occasion of 'Mauni Amavasya' today, a day considered the most auspicious day during the 12-yearly congregation. A total of 112 trains routinely passes through Allahabad and an additional 49 special trains were being operated on Sunday.

BJP leader Uma Bharti, who visited the accident site and later met the injured, questioned the arrangements made by Railways ahead of the religious gathering. Meanwhile, a number of volunteers have joined the relief work and are offering assistance at the railway station, the railway hospital and the SRN Hospital.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded investigation into the incident. BJP President Rajnath Singh said, "If precaution was taken from the start, this would not have happened. Investigations need to be carried out, those responsible need to be punished."

Here are the helplines numbers:

New Delhi Railway Station helpine: 011-23342954, 011-23341074

Nizamuddin Railway Station helpline: 011-24357660

Chandauli and Mughalsarai Railway Stations helpline number: 05412-73678, 05412-254115

(With additional information from PTI)

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